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Atmosphere of Hope: Searching for Solutions to the Climate Crisis Hardcover – October 6, 2015

4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


Praise for Atmosphere of Hope:

“Thoughtful, candid and—yes—ultimately upbeat, Atmosphere of Hope could not be more timely. It is just the book the world needs right now.”—Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The Sixth Extinction

“The book does a remarkably good job of arguing that there is still hope for averting catastrophic climate change . . . [Flannery] fully acknowledges the steep challenges and serious obstacles we face. So when he affirms that a path to averting catastrophic climate change remains in place, we know the conclusion is not reached capriciously . . . Flannery’s exploration of the climate change problem is comprehensive. He covers everything from the underlying basic science to the nitty-gritty details of prospective solutions. The book is at its best when laying out the latter . . . What Flannery provides—a convincing defense for the position that a path to averting catastrophic climate change still exists—is invaluable.”—Los Angeles Review of Books

“In his new book, Atmosphere of Hope, best-selling Australian author Tim Flannery counsels cautious optimism by showing how the millions of small actions taken by individuals are driving down oil consumption and points out how new ‘Third Way’ carbon-capture technologies promise to reduce emissions and create massive economic opportunities.”—National Geographic

“An informative tour of promising multipronged approaches to one of humanity’s biggest challenges. Flannery’s solution-focused quest is especially timely.”—Booklist

“Flannery argues for renewed optimism in human capabilities to reverse the destabilizing effects of climate change. For years, the author has been in the forefront of spreading the warning of climate change’s dire consequences to a broad audience . . . A sharp summary of energy potentialities, where the good and the bad reside in human hands, hearts, and minds.”—Kirkus Reviews

“Certain people rise above the crowd. They choose to use their extraordinary talent and intelligence to make a difference. Scientist, scholar and activist Tim Flannery is one of those rare people . . . Atmosphere of Hope is a brilliant examination of where we are with climate change and where we might be able to go.”—National Observer (Vancouver)

Praise for The Weather Makers:

“An authoritative, scientifically accurate book on global warming that sparkles with life, clarity and intelligence.”—Washington Post

“At last, here is a clear and readable account of one of the most important but controversial issues facing everyone in the world today. If you are not already addicted to Tim Flannery's writing, discover him now.”—Jared Diamond, author of The World Until Yesterday and Guns, Germs & Steel

“Flannery . . . is without question an extraordinary scientist. . .. A passionate explication of human influence on climate change and a call to action. . . . A tour de force.”—Science Magazine

About the Author

Tim Flannery is a scientist, explorer, and conservationist. He has published more than 130 scientific papers and several books, including "The Weather Makers," "Throwim Way Leg," "Here on Earth," and "Among the Islands." He was named Australian of the Year in 2007, and from 2011 to 2013, he was head of the Australian Climate Change Commission.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press (October 6, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802124062
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802124067
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 0.9 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #552,776 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By FictionFan TOP 1000 REVIEWER on October 8, 2015
Format: Paperback
In December this year, the next United Nations Climate Change Conference will convene in Paris to make decisions on how to cap carbon emissions at a level that will ensure that global temperatures will rise by no more than 2° Celcius compared to pre-industrial levels. This book is a summary of where we are now and an action plan for the future.

The book is heavily polemical, very much Tim Flannery's personal attempt to influence the decision makers. As a scientist and leading environmentalist of long-standing, Flannery is Professorial Fellow at the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, University of Melbourne, a member of the Australian Independent Climate Council and chairman of the Copenhagen Climate Council; so he's certainly qualified to speak authoritatively on the subject.

This was a bit of a roller-coaster read for me, both in terms of style and content. In the introduction, Flannery lays out his stall. Taking as his starting point his own earlier book The Weather Makers, he sets out to show how things have developed over the decade since, where his opinions have changed over the years, and what he now thinks are the best ways forward if we want to avoid catastrophic climate change. At this stage, I was concerned I might find the book unreadable. His style is abrasive, self-aggrandizing and arrogant and much of the introduction and early chapters read like a piece of self-advertisement. He mentions his previous book umpteen times, dismissing anyone who has criticised any aspect of it over the years, and spends far too long justifying his then conclusions. In fact, at times there is a sense almost of paranoia – as if he is the victim of a conspiracy of vested interests trying to discredit his work.
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Format: Hardcover
Tim Flannery is the auditor of our filth. Atmosphere of Hope is 75% revolting statistics detailing how we have and continue to mess up the ecosphere. The numbers are so huge that any attempt at remediation would take a planetwide initiative of such massive proportions, duration and expense as to be impossible. Sequestering carbon dioxide by the gigagtonne is required, but not doable. Two key governments, in Canada and Australia, are led by climate change deniers of the Don’t Worry Be Happy dysfunction. And now that the UN is inviting corporates to the table, no effective global solutions are possible.

Flannery is a judge on the Virgin Earth Challenge panel, so he sees a constant flow of ideas and proposals. They all seem to require a complete change of modus operandi, like all the cement produced worldwide seeded with biochar to make it carbon negative. At 80% of global production, we could sequester one gigatonne. Negative carbon plastics could sequester another gigatonne, but only if we made all plastics this way and quintupled production. Now consider we need to sequester 18 gigatonnes per year just reduce atmospheric CO2 by one part per million. We’re currently pushing the rate up from 400ppm.

And this is just CO2 in the atmosphere.

Atmosphere of Hope is a quick read, a compendium of bite-sized facts and figures, detailing the situation in mid 2015. The sections on remediation are interesting and the concepts innovative, but there is always the uncomfortable feeling that two wrongs don’t make a right. Pumping metallic microparticles into the stratosphere is almost certainly the wrong way to fix the mess.

In They Might Be Giants, Holmes explains we weren’t booted from the Garden of Eden; we never left. But we are guests here, and extremely rude ones.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Tim Flannery’s new book, Atmosphere of Hope, is supposed to offer us a ‘third way’ – new solutions to climate change. It makes for a depressing read.

The book seems to leap from a kind of hopelessness into wishful thinking and an almost reckless faith in technologies that are barely at the conceptual stage.

The hopelessness emerges from the failure of governments anywhere to tackle climate change with the kind of urgency the issue clearly deserves. Instead, in places like Australia, we have a political and economic system that is even rejecting established, job creating technologies. How do we deal with such intransigence and obstructionism?

For Flannery, the solution – what he terms the ‘third way’ – is an attempt to circumvent the problem by proposing massive investment in new technologies. The problems with such an approach are many.

Tim Flannery’s suggestion that geoengineering technologies are a ‘third way’ implies that these unproven technologies are a legitimate replacement for existing mitigation needs and technologies. While new technologies can obviously complement mitigation, they cannot solve climate change -, nor can they circumvent the clear need for structural and behavioural changes.

How can we expect a political system that has been so complicit in creating climate change, and so resistant to acting on it, to support and invest in unproven new technologies for solving climate change?

Flannery seems to expect technology to overcome the political realities we face, when it is obvious that technologies are the products of and subject to the same political and cultural forces that have created the problem in the first place.

Flannery’s support for negative emissions concrete is a case in point.
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